Pentagon says maybe yes -- maybe no on Able Danger testimony
It's starting to look like the old switcheroo -- or maybe a case of good cop/bad cop -- but there's some serious miscommunication going on regarding the prospect of the testimony of 5 witnesses previously barred from appearing by the Pentagon. It's probably not true that 9/11 could have been prevented, but what is evidently is at stake is protecting some higher ups from the embarrassing revelation that a valuable tool which had identified the potential hijacker years prior to 9/11 was squelched and ignored. Now the evidence of that mistake is being systematically covered up, as it obviously was by the 9/11 Ommish-Commish -- whose job it was, obviously, to exonerate all the usual suspects and to come to some preconceived conclusions.
Pentagon, Senate committee bicker over 9/11 probe - Yahoo! News
The Pentagon and the Senate Judiciary Committee squabbled publicly on Friday about whether lawmakers could question five key witnesses in public about their claims the U.S. military identified four September 11 hijackers long before the 20001 attacks.
The Defense Department came under fire from Republican and Democratic lawmakers this week when it prohibited the same witnesses, including members of a secret military intelligence team code-named Able Danger, from appearing before the judiciary panel at a public hearing on Wednesday.
The panel's chairman, Republican Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record) of Pennsylvania, said at Wednesday's hearing the Pentagon could be guilty of obstructing congressional proceedings. Other lawmakers accused the Defense Department of orchestrating a cover-up.
On Friday, the Senate committee announced the Pentagon had reversed its position and would allow the five witnesses to testify at a new public hearing scheduled for October 5.
The Pentagon denied anything had changed, despite behind-the-scenes negotiations to reach a solution agreeable to both sides.
"Our position has not changed," Defense spokesman Bryan Whitman told Reuters. "This is a classified program and there are still aspects of it that are not appropriate for an open hearing. And that's what we have told the committee."
Not so, responded William Reynolds, the judiciary committee's director of communications.
"The Pentagon has agreed to make five witnesses available. Although there was no talk at the time when they made that offer, the assumption was that it would be in an open committee hearing," Reynolds said in an interview.
"If the Pentagon has issues with that, they need to let us know," he added.
Able Danger, now defunct, was a small highly classified data-mining operation that used powerful computers to sift through reams of public data in search of intelligence clues on a variety of topics.